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5 Steps to Design a Great Employee Development Program for Millennials

A well-designed employee development program involves training that seeks to provide knowledge to employees on skills that improve their current jobs. An employee development program is often useful during a performance appraisal when the manager recognizes that the employee needs improvement on certain skills. It creates a benchmark for employees to fulfill their performance standards. Apart from performance appraisals an employee development program can also be used for an employee’s professional development.  

In case an employee gets a change of role, an employee development program can be used for succession planning. When it comes to creating an employee development program for millennials, it is important to keep in mind that millennials have a hunger for technology and career advancement. They value any opportunity for career advancement compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers. When millennials have the right opportunities for learning and development, they can achieve anything. Which is why, employers need to have a dialogue with millennial employees to discuss their career aspirations. 

Therefore, an employee development program is ideally supposed to provide employees the opportunities to advance their skills required for their career growth. When employees get to expand their skillset, they will help your business forge ahead. But what makes a good employee development program? Let us explore 5 steps on how we can design an employee development program for millennials.  

Have you aligned your employee’s development needs? 

Before we create objectives for an employee development program, it is best to align your employee’s development and training needs with business needs. Therefore, it is best to first draw out your business objectives, short-term or long-term.  

After identifying business objectives, it is now easier for you to analyze the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies that you need you employees to have in order to support those objectives. 

If you invest a little bit of your time on employee development, it can save you a lot of time and resources that is required for new candidates when it comes to recruitment, onboarding and training. In addition to that, you can create a career path for your employees by giving them opportunities for advancement such as promotion through development, the one thing that millennials crave. This way you retain millennials at your workplace. 

Did you have those career conversations? 

As a manager it would be wrong to assume that you know your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. In order to get a better understanding of your employees’ skills and career aspirations, it is advisable that you have those career conversations.  

This is exactly where self-assessments come handy, because employees will evaluate their own performance and be open about writing down the challenges they are facing. They will be able to identify the areas they are struggling the most. This will give you an insight if you could provide them any additional training or mentoring that they could benefit from. 

There are times when employees may have their own development goals in their mind, but they keep wondering if the management would be supportive enough for their plans. On the other hand, some employees do not see the potential in themselves therefore they need someone to encourage them to reach their career goals. 

Therefore, talk to your employees and try to determine what you could do to help them achieve their development plans and the opportunities that you could provide them. 

Are your employees ready to take up something new? 

There are times when you think that your employees have the potential to do something, but do you really think that they are ready for something new? Your employees may have the desire to learn many new things, they might have the skills and experience for the job, but do they really want it desperately? 

No matter how good and experienced your employees might be in doing something, this does not necessarily mean that they want to go up the career ladder. Being good at a current job is very different from possessing managerial skills. Therefore, think before you push an employee into a responsibility that they don’t think they are ready for. This can have detrimental consequences on the employee’s wellbeing and the business outcomes as well. 

How is your employee going to acquire these skills? 

After all the steps that we discussed above, it is now time for you to understand how your employees will acquire all the skills and competencies that you want them to have. An employee development program does not take up a lot of your budget, you can create a budget-friendly developmental program using formal classroom training and online courses so that your employees expand their talents. 

The thing with millennials gaining knowledge is that they need to be fully engaged to learn anything. Therefore, you could introduce them to special projects and stretch assignments. You could ask them to sit with an expert who is great at what the employee does. Lastly, you could even do a one-on-one mentoring session with your employees.  

In this way, you are preparing your employees for their next role and your employees will get a chance to grow and learn. 

Do you have a specific plan?  

After identifying some learning opportunities for your employees, you can now come up with a specific plan and create SMART goals. Your objectives must not be vague, and broad. It needs to be time-bound. Otherwise, it will become difficult for you to measure your employee’s progress. 

Before embarking upon a new employee development program, your employees need to be told why they have been asked to take this program. What are their learning outcomes and what is it going to do for their careers? 

Remember that you are investing your time and resources on your employee development program. Therefore, ensure that they apply these skills on their job after the training period. Create opportunities for your employees to apply their skills and give them feedback on a real-time basis. This way they will try to hone their skills for their job. 

What have we learnt so far? 

Designing an employee development program helps your employees work more effectively because they can use the knowledge that they have acquired in doing something worthwhile. This improves their job satisfaction and experience. Why would your employees go anywhere at all, if you give them what they need the most?  

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